NSA seeks Psychology Practicum Program for Doctoral Level Students
Location: Fort Meade, MD
About the Practicum Program
The Employee Assistance Service (EAS) is the psychological treatment division of the National Security Agency (NSA). It offers services to all employees and their spouses. EAS is an ideal setting for practicum students to gain relevant experience working with a wide variety of presenting concerns and a broad range of diagnoses. The EAS clientele also offers the opportunity to work with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The 9-12 month practicum placement is designed for two doctoral students in psychology who are interested in developing their clinical skills and building their knowledge base. The practical application of this knowledge is in the treatment of a diverse workforce within the federal government’s Intelligence Community.
The 9-12 month practicum placement requires approximately 16-20 hours per week, dependent on the practicum students’ interests and the requirements of their respective graduate program (this includes administrative responsibilities and supervision preparation). Practicum students are responsible for ensuring that their hours meet criteria for their respective programs. The following is a tentative outline of weekly activities.
1. Individual Therapy (7-8 hours per week). Clients will generally be seen once a week with a ten-session limit. Some cases may be more appropriate for biweekly counseling, which can be arranged. Practicum students will be provided with a private office at EAS in which they will see clients. Practicum students will carry 7-10 individual therapy clients at a time.
2. Supervision on Individual Therapy Cases (2 hours per week). Each practicum student will have a licensed clinical psychologist serving as his or her direct clinical supervisor for individual therapy cases. Additionally, a multi-disciplinary consultation team will be made available to the practicum student in formal and informal ways in order to provide an opportunity for the practicum student to be exposed to various treatment modalities and theoretical orientations.
3. Intake evaluation. Learning to evaluate the client and the client’s situation so as to help the client make the most of his or her counseling is essential to the work at EAS. Practicum students will conduct an intake evaluation with clients prior to starting individual therapy. This evaluation will be conducted under supervision and will allow for the practicum student and supervisor to determine whether or not a particular client is appropriate for the practicum student to manage in individual therapy. At least once per semester, direct observation of an intake evaluation will occur in which the student and the supervisor will both be present in the room.
4. Urgent Care Coverage/Crisis Intervention (2 hours per week for 1 semester). Practicum students will be given the opportunity to shadow a licensed clinical psychologist as they provide urgent care coverage for two hours per week for one semester. To prepare for this experience, all practicum students will participate in an orientation that will cover a range of topics, including how to provide urgent care support, risk assessment, and treatment planning.
5. Clinical Meeting (1.5 hours per week; Wednesdays 1:00 – 2:30PM). Practicum students meet with the clinical staff to present cases and to discuss particular problems or issues related to their work with clients. At least once per semester, they will be asked to give a formal case presentation to the clinical staff on a client which poses a particular challenge.
6. Workplace Consultations/Corporate Outreach. Each practicum student will participate in at least one workplace consultation/outreach activity for the workforce. Practicum students are encouraged to complete this in the fall semester.
7. Quality Improvement Project. An integral part of our work is to continue to make improvements on the ways things are done. Each practicum student will be tasked with a quality improvement project. This project can be either time-limited or last the entire year depending on the selection.
8. Seminar (1.5 hours per week; Wednesdays 2:30 – 4:00PM). Practicum students are required to attend the ‘Selected Topics & Clinical Application Seminar.’ This seminar (conducted by staff members and visiting clinicians) focuses on a number of clinical areas in depth including: theories; application of theory; and other clinical topics (e.g., workplace consultations, substance abuse, collaboration within a work environment, worklife issues). Readings for the seminars are generally assigned in advance of class (all reading materials provided by EAS). During the course of the practicum placement, the practicum students will be asked to present a journal article.
9. Evaluation and Feedback. Feedback on progress will be provided in individual supervision as well as more formally throughout each semester. Practicum students are evaluated based on their ability to establish rapport with clients, integrate theory and practice, and intervene with clients.
Applications for the 2018 program are accepted 15 November 2017 – 15 January 2018.
– Must be a U.S. citizen
– Must be eligible to be granted a security clearance
– Must be within the third year or higher of an APA-accredited counseling or clinical psychology doctoral degree program
– Must be available for the entire 9-12 month program
– Must be available for an operational interview and other applicable processing between January and May 2018
Pay, Benefits, & Work Schedule
The NSA internship is a PAID internship. Students will earn a competitive salary commensurate with their education level.
Practicum students will receive the following benefits:
– Annual leave, sick leave and paid federal holidays
– Participation in agency-wide extracurricular programs
– Students are hired on a temporary appointment, and are not eligible for health insurance, life insurance, or Thrift Savings Plan benefits
– We recognize that practicum students will be enrolled in their graduate programs and continue to take courses/meet program demands at their home school while training here. As such, practicum students will not be expected to relocate and will not be provided with funding for travel or housing.
How To Apply – External
How to Apply
Applications must be submitted online at www.IntelligenceCareers.gov on or before 15 January 2018. Applications received after the deadline, as well as incomplete packages, will not be considered.
To be considered for the Psychology Training Opportunity, submit a complete application package that includes:
– Current CV
– A cover letter addressing experience and interest in the above described practicum placement
– Official transcript
– Two letters of recommendation from professionals familiar with your clinical work
To submit the online application, you must use our resume builder application tool – you cannot upload a resume. For step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application, please refer to the application guide at intelligencecareeers.gov/nsa ‘Job Search/Apply’ and look under the ‘Need Help’ section.
Applicants will be processed for a security clearance, and will be required to pass a psychological exam, lifestyle and counter intelligence polygraph, drug screening test, and complete a comprehensive history form that documents your foreign travel, educational background and employment history, among other areas.
Transcripts may be issued directly by the Registrar, or issued to you by the Registrar, then sent with your application materials. Only originals via post, photocopies of originals via post, scanned copies of originals via email (PDF format only) will be accepted. If your Registrar is capable of directly sending electronic transcripts, please have them sent directly to you and then email the transcript as an attachment. Please do not send html transcripts accessible via a website or text versions thereof.
IMPORTANT: When applying online, you may only submit your resume at www.IntelligenceCareers.gov. All other required documentation must be emailed to EAS_STP@nsa.gov by the application.
If you have questions about the Intern Program, please contact us at the e-mail address above or call 1-866-NSA-HIRE. You may also email Summer_Interns@nsa.gov or call 410-854-4726.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is part of the DoD Intelligence Community Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS). All positions in the NSA are in the Excepted Services under 10 United States Codes (USC) 1601 appointment authority.
JBNSA National Security Agency